Successfully Used US Airways $99 Companion Certificate

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I posted a few weeks ago that I was going to be in a travel situation where the US Airways MasterCard $99 companion certificates would likely be helpful, but I couldn’t find them.  I blame the dog, or the kid, or a gust of wind, or the monster in the house that eats every other sock and helmets off of all the Star Wars toys.  Thankfully, it seems that it is pretty easy to get a replacement certificate, so I posted that process here, and my new certificate has since shown up in the mail.

Today my travel plans finalized and we pulled the trigger on some non-stop flights on US Airways metal for later this summer.  I successfully used my $99 Companion Pass, so I want to share how that process went in case you are able to use yours in the future.

You get a certificate within a few weeks of opening your US Airways MasterCard and then you receive one annually when your account renews (or close to that time).  It is good for two companions to fly for $99 when you purchase a ticket for yourself.  Here are some of the key requirements for using the certificates:

  • Valid for round trip coach class travel within contiguous 48 states or the 48 states to Canada
  • Must be on US Airways operated flights (no partners like United)
  • 14 day advance purchase required
  • Minimum two night stay and maximum 30 day stay
  • Ticket purchased must be at least $250
  • Blackout dates apply – 2013 dates include: Jan 5, 6; Feb 15, 24; Mar 8, 10, 15, 17, 28, 29; April 1, 6; May 24; June 28, 29; July 6, 7, 28; Aug 4; Dec 1, 2, 20, 21, 28, 29, 30

Here was how the booking process went for me:

  • You cannot make the reservation online.  You have to call in to do so (the 1-800 number is helpfully printed on the certificate).
  • I was not charged a phone booking fee, nor was one even brought up.
  • Once you call in you can stick with the automated system for a while, but eventually you will need to talk to a real person (just hit 0).  It was still helpful that I gave the automated system some of my desired flight information as it cut down on the length of time I had to talk to the booking agent (who was very nice).
  • She immediately knew what to do when I told her I needed to book using the $99 companion certificate.
  • You absolutely need the physical certificate.  The first thing she asked for was the SHARES reference code printed on the certificate.
  • She entered our US Airways frequent flyer numbers and the certificate states that you can only use the certificate to accrue miles in that program, but we’ll see what happens…
  • When she asked for my credit card information to pay she did not specify it had to be a US Airways card, though the certificate does stipulate that.  I used mine, but it is possible another would have worked.
  • The $99 companion certificates came to about $117 each including taxes and fees.
  • My fare priced out exactly as it appeared online for the cheapest economy ticket.
  • I was told that the certificate has to be postmarked by the next day, and physically mailed to an address printed on the certificate.  Though it says ATTN: US Airways – TBM and it is supposed to say US Airways – TBC.  I was told my reservation would be cancelled if that was not done.

The process was painless and efficient.  There were no extra fees to book over the phone and the pricing they saw matched what I saw online.  The agent knew what she was doing, and all I have to do now is go drop the certificate in the mail.  My ticket for relatively peak summer travel cost a little bit more than I like at about $450, but it is very much off-set by getting the second two for just $99 each.  It turned what could have been $1,350 in airfare to about $700.  Still not cheap, but much more affordable for a family of three.

This is a real benefit that isn’t going to make sense for everyone every year, but it can be extremely useful in certain situations.  Have you ever been able to use your certificate?  Was the process the same as mine or different?

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